Gear Guide: Musical gadgets
Our look at great Mac gear concludes with a profile of five eye-catching iPod accessories. (For even more iPod-themed gift ideas, check out Playlist’s Winter Gear Guide and its look at speakers, headphones, and other add-ons for your portable music player.) And if you’re into making music as well as listening to it, we have five products sure to appeal to audiophiles.
Gear for iPod Users
Apple’s insanely popular media player seems to do it all—music, videos, and photo slide shows. But these add-ons will allow your iPod to do even more.
Multipot Personal Electric Charger
When Apple unveiled the fifth-generation iPod, an exciting specification was hidden in the fine print: with a compatible microphone, this iPod could record CD-quality audio. Although it took the better part of a year for such devices to appear, they’ve finally arrived—and XtremeMac’s MicroMemo tops the list. This iPod add-on not only offers a flexible mono mike that captures clean recordings, but also houses tiny speakers that let you listen to your memos and music (albeit at transistor-radio quality). The MicroMemo accepts microphone and line-level inputs, and its somewhat bulky microphone can be removed so you can attach a mike of your choosing. Just plug in the MicroMemo, and lectures, dictation, and even audio reminders to yourself can take their rightful place alongside Lost episodes, Lyle Lovett albums, and photos of your recent ski trip.—CHRISTOPHER BREEN
MicroMemo: $60; XtremeMac
Grado’s SR60 has long earned praise for being an “entry-level audiophile” set of headphones that provides stellar sound quality for just $60. But it hasn’t garnered raves for being comfortable and attractive. With the iGrado, the company has taken the guts of the SR60 and stuck them into a sportier, behind-the-head model. The iGrado won’t win any beauty contests either, but it does provide that famous Grado sound, and it’s comfortable and snug enough for active wear.—DAN FRAKES
iGrado: $60; Grado
No, that’s not an insect head below; that’s JBL’s new Go + Play portable speaker system for the iPod. The brushed-metal handle, curved body, and large metal speaker grills make the Go + Play look unlike any boom box you’ve seen before, and it’s unique in several other ways, too. A horizontal iPod dock on top makes controlling your iPod easy while keeping it protected; an RF remote provides great range and the ability to navigate your iPod’s menus from afar; an S-Video output lets you view photos and videos on your TV; and sound quality and maximum volume are impressive for a battery-powered system. It’s the first iPod boom box that looks and sounds good enough to double as a home system.—DF
Go + Play: $300; JBL
Everyone loves gadgets, but few people love the charger-cable clutter that comes with them. The Multipot Personal Electric Charger aims to solve that problem with designer flair. At 7.5 inches tall and 9.25 inches in diameter, the Multipot looks like a fancy flowerpot—but in reality, it’s the most attractive power strip I’ve ever seen. Underneath its lid are five standard power outlets. You plug in the chargers for your iPod, your mobile phone, your PDA, and the like, hiding them from view; the cable ends emerge from a small hole on top, ready to charge your tech toys. (The sunken top is also a handy place to stash your keys and wallet.) Available in amber, black, silver, or white to match any decor, the translucent Multipot also includes an ambient LED light.—DF
Multipot Personal Electric Charger: $228 to $238, depending on color; Design Within Reach
When you’ve tethered your iPod to a television, being able to control it from across the room is wonderful. But unless you have a pair of binoculars with you, it’s awfully hard to read the text on that tiny screen. Enter DLO’s HomeDock Deluxe —the $150 dock lets you navigate your iPod’s music via menus on a connected TV screen. Complete with a handsome IR remote, the HomeDock Deluxe includes S-Video and AV outputs for connecting to a TV and an AV receiver. Regrettably, Apple has barred this and similar docks from showing video and slide-show menus, but, if you’re willing to strap on those binoculars, you can control these functions on the iPod remotely when you switch the HomeDock into iPod mode.—CB
HomeDock Deluxe: $150; DLO